The rise of obesity has focussed attention towards obesogenic environments, in particular the home environment, which is an important setting for the development of dietary patterns and eating preferences. In this environment, the dietary gatekeeper is the person primarily responsible for food shopping and preparation and therefore determines the food that will be consumed by the family in the home.
Food literacy is an emerging concept used to describe the everyday practicalities associated with healthy food intake. However, in the extant literature, there is a lack of research assessing food literacy and the role of the dietary gatekeeper’s food literacy in the household domain.
Using a mixed-method approach, my research adopts a public health and social marketing perspective, to investigate how the dietary gatekeeper’s food literacy influences healthy food consumption in the home environment. The research involves three stages. First, a quantitative analysis of an existing data set of 756 Australian dietary gatekeepers has been undertaken to establish a valid measure of food literacy and determine how food literacy impacts healthy dietary behaviour and dietary barriers.
Then using the quantitative findings as a guide, the second stage will explore food literacy further in a qualitative study of dietary gatekeepers to provide greater understanding on the different aspects of food literacy used by gatekeepers to overcome dietary barriers in the home environment.
In the final stage, using the insights gained from the qualitative study a food literacy questionnaire will be developed to measure how food literacy capabilities are transferred in the home environment. To date there has been a lack of instruments in the literature that measure the transmission of food literacy skills and knowledge within the family.